Hot on the heels of the highly successful VisitScotland Expo in Aberdeen last week comes a host of ideas of places to visit and things to do in Scotland over the next few weeks, writes Susan Welsh
ORKNEY NATURE FESTIVAL
May 13-17, Orkney
A wild week of island discoveries will take place at the Orkney Nature Festival, a celebration of the best wildlife-watching possible in Orkney. Visitors will be able to take boat trips to see the seabird colonies at Noup Head and Pentland Skerries or to explore the uninhabited island of Fara and the coast of Flotta. Guided walks will uncover the wildlife of Orkney’s world heritage site and there will be a chance to try some of the best locally and sustainably sourced food at Balfour Mains on the Balfour Castle estate. Events also include birdwatching by horse-drawn carriage and bird-ringing demonstrations. Find out more by visiting: www.orkneynature
CAIRNGORMS NATURE FESTIVAL
This festival will celebrate the national park’s outstanding nature
and wildlife, with events and activities taking place throughout Aviemore, Ballater, Blair Atholl and Tomintoul. From sleeping out on a family camping night to taking a guided walk, there will be lots of opportunities to enjoy spotting all the local wildlife. Highlights include a peregrine watch walk in Glen Doll and a spring explorers safari in the Pass of Killiecrankie. Find out more at www.cairngorms.co.uk
WILD SPRING FESTIVAL AT CASTLE KENNEDY
Until May 4
During the Wild Spring Festival, Castle Kennedy Gardens in Dumfries and Galloway are holding several events organised by their garden ranger. Activities begin at Castle Kennedy ruins and finish with arts and crafts in the ranger hut. Guided walks are also available and a new menu has been introduced to the gardens’ tearoom, as part of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, offering an excellent selection of paninis, baked potatoes, sandwiches and delicious home baking.
Find out more at www.castlekennedygardens.com
Elsewhere, throughout the region, the Wild Spring Festival has a host of events taking place when visitors can discover one of the most surprising and naturally inspiring regions of Scotland. From frogs
and fishtails to badgers and buzzards, and from red deer and reptiles to otters, ospreys, bats, moths and the charismatic red squirrel, Dumfries and Galloway is teeming with wildlife in spring and this month-long festival celebrates all aspects of it.
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL
The Science Festival returns to Edinburgh’s creative technology hub Summerhall, which hosts the festival’s flagship visual-art exhibition How the Light Gets In. Co-curated by the Science Festival, Summerhall and ASCUS Art & Science, How the Light Gets In brings together a selection of works by international artists intrigued by light in all its forms and facets, aiming also to illuminate the workings of the brain, mind and consciousness. The exhibition takes inspiration from the UN International Year of Light 2015 and the Science Festival’s Brainwaves strand of events exploring neuroscience, with works exploring the beauty, form and function of light, and its role as a metaphor for knowledge and enlightenment.
Find out more at www.sciencefestival.co.uk
Annandale distillery reopened this April and has started producing single malt Scotch whisky after almost a 100 years. Visitors can take a variety of tours of the beautiful distillery to find out about the fascinating history and get a glimpse into the future of Annandale Distillery, with an opportunity to be one of the first people to taste the New Make Spirit, Rascally Liquor. The distillery is in Northfield, Annan, Dumfriesshire.
Find out more at www.annandale